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Mythic Legions: Coliseum
by yo go re

Okay, so with Adamonn, you kind of already had to be in on the joke to recognize what it was going for. Keltuss just lays it all out.

A complete anomaly in the Mercurian Coliseum, Keltus [sic] was the first and only fighter to meld magic with gladiatorial combat. Despised by his fellow combatants yet adored by the bloodthirsty crowds, he could spectacularly level the mightiest of foes with the mere utterance of magical incantation. Once he escaped the coliseum, Keltuss' fame opened many opportunities. The promise of fortune and renown ultimately lured Keltuss to join Skapular and the Sons of the Red Star.

And right away we see that, no matter what they may look like, the Mythic Legions: Colliseum characters are emphatically not just He-Man characters transposed to the world of Mythos - there is no way the real Skeletor would ever consent to just being a soldier in someone else's army - heck, his backstory is about being recruited by a higher power, and then doing everything he could to usurp control. So this is not the greatest villain in the world; this is just a tribute.

Keltuss, whose name is a play on Skeletor's real identity, is a blue bone-man wearing purple armor. The head is the kind without the articulated jaw, sadly, but the shading painted on the skull is great. There's a dark blue wash that seeps into all the cracks, plus shadows in the eye and nose sockets, the cheeks, and around the brow ridges.

The armor is made from reused pieces, of course. Like Malleus, he wears the super-spiky gloves and boots, the smooth chest armor paired with the scooped collar, and has pauldrons apparently screwed into his upper arms. For his skirt piece, he gets the strappy kind with the huge belt buckle, and scale mail loincloth - this was a great choice, since Skeletor has traditionally worn a vaguely Roman/Grecian style groin-concealer, contrasting with He-Man's fur panties. The other choices may not be super strongly Skeletor, but when you've got purple armor on a blue body, you can pretty easily recognize what they were going for.

While Adamonn's extra head was just kind of a weird inclusion that did nothing to further the He-Man connections, Keltuss' is almost a must-have. Rather than the unadorned blue skull of the normal head, this one is Skelly's more traditional colorscheme: a yellow face with red eyes burning withing perfectly black sockets, and green shadows back along the edge of his hood. And yes, he even has a hood! Yes, technically it's more of an Ottoman helmet with head-shawl (the same piece Skapular had), but the effect is unmistakeable! Green and yellow skull inside a purple hood. It's Skeletor! Nyeh!

Since all the pieces used to make this figure were pre-existing, you simply know that the articulation is good, and that the pieces can be swapped pretty easily. For the most part. Swapping the hooded head on is simple enough, but getting it back off is a bit tougher: the neck will pop off the body before the head pops off the neck, so you'll have to pry it out of the cranium manually, then place it back on the torso. Of course, unlike a lot of figures with interchangeable heads, the Mythic Legions are meant to come apart this way. Modular construction for the win! The skeletal legs do lack the thigh swivel the more meaty legs have, but the Horsemen were probably already treading close enough to unhappy copyright lawyers as it is, putting a yellow skull on top of a blue bodybuilder's buff body probably would have been way too much! In fact, that's probably even why we get the plain blue skull at all, and why Keltuss has it on in the packaging.

We get lots of fun accessories, too. Want some armored pauldrons you can plug into his back? Well too bad, he's got them anyway! He has the same sword that Adamonn did, plus a small dagger. There's another alternate head, but this one isn't really meant to be worn by the figure - you can tell, because the metallic purple of the accessories is slighter more reddish than the metallic purple of his armor. No, this head (the Blood Armor head) is meant to go on the end of the included battle staff, itself an accessory from one of the weapon packs. Why would you want to put it on top of the staff? Because with its pinched features and curved horns, it's a decent stand-in for Skeletor's goat staff! Without molding a single new piece, the Four Horsemen found a way to homage one of the most famous villain weapons of the '80s. If you press the head all the way down onto the ball, the two little prongs on the staff will get warped out of the way, so you may want to just push it on halfway or so.

Keltuss showcases the way clever parts re-use and carefully chosen paint can be combined into something very fun and appealing. Heck, he makes me want to dig out my old Skeletor Unbound custom so they can hang out together. Adamonn was a nice enough release, but Keltuss is the real star of this pair - shame they couldn't have been sold in a two-pack, instead of separately. There are more Masters of the Universe-inspired Mythic Legions on the way, too! But now we're really going to need the Four Horsemen to re-release Unkann the orc!

-- 05/18/18

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